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If you only get to ask one marketing question, make it this one

By Adam Harshberger

Copywriter

A short marketing horror story: The never-ending meeting where everyone desperately wants messaging clarity, but can’t seem to find it. A ceaseless flow of questions without clear cut answers; too much coffee; headaches for everyone at the end of the day.


And, alas, the most terrifying part. A less-than-satisfying, scattershot message that says everything—but ultimately means nothing.


The truth is we’ve all lived that story more than once. And, yes, it’s painful, but all those questions are asked in pursuit of a noble goal: the kind of pure and clearly-defined messaging that resonates with customers.

The search for the right question to ask is just as difficult and time-consuming, if not more so, than the search for your actual goal—the best answer.

The one question to rule them all

In our experience, there’s a single question that can help marketing teams cut through the noise, eliminate extraneous details, and arrive at a simple, razer-sharp and sure-to-resonate message. Without painstakingly exploring every extraneous nook and cranny along the way.

Turns out, it’s a pretty simple question, too.

All you have to ask is: “Why did you make this product?”

We find that those six words can make all the difference, for a few reasons.

First, it goes right to the core of how your customers use your product. What problem is it solving for them? What area did your engineers see that they could improve on, or what void did they set out to fill? When you start here, your message has a much firmer grounding in the real-world applications of what you’re selling and the business case behind it.

Second, the question illuminates the market opportunity you, as marketers, need to take advantage of. Who are you talking to? By knowing what problems you’re solving, you’ll know better who you’re selling to, because they’re the ones that will be using your product or service to solve those problems. This applies to both knowing the kind of organizational titles and roles that you should be thinking about, and the types of organizations and industries, too.

Third, it frames the conversation in relatable, human terms. When we get lost in buzzwords and marketing jargon, messages get watered down. The worst-case scenario is to end up saying something that your audience can’t understand because it’s in terms they don’t use. This one question gets you to the practical, boots-on-the-ground detail you need to resonate loud and clear.

Ask and ye shall receive

Is our question a surefire way to automatically arrive at your best possible message? No. What this question does is eliminate a lot of the superfluous questions and unnecessary pondering that can plague a message development process. We return to our favorite question often because it streamlines the process and helps ground our thinking in a strong, practical foundation.

Don’t believe us? Try asking it at the onset of your next marketing strategy meeting. You’ll be surprised at how much it can help move the process along and help ensure a strong end result.